Checkout abandonment rates – what to look for in your data?

Checkout abandonment can be a very frustrating experience for anyone who has got an eCommerce store. Not matter you are a new fighter on the block or are a seasoned player, seeing people abandon their purchase on the last leg of their purchase could be really frustrating.

I have always given this analogy to anyone who I am discussing checkout abandonment with “It is like people quitting the queue while waiting for reaching the cashier in a store”. How many people do that in a real brick and mortar store. Checkout abandonment rates can be a little hard to measure in-store as it would mean you would need to put a check somewhere that validates an entry into the queue. It’s counter-productive. You would not want to startle a shopper who is going towards a cashier.

And one of the reason that could be the possible drivers of people not abandoning checkout queues in-stores is psychological – the fear of getting judged. There is no such fear online. The reason which is possibly one of the strongest driver of online shopping is also the reason for one of the biggest pain points.

Another problem with Checkout Abandonment is that it is hard to separate it with Cart Abandonment. But both of these are two very distinct problems. None is bigger than the other. What is bigger is the percentage. Any figure that is above the industry/vertical average should worry you and you should direct serious efforts in lowering the abandonment rates.

Difference between Checkout Abandonment and Cart Abandonment

The first step in the lowering efforts is identification. You would need to understand the difference between cart and checkout abandonment. In my opinion, cart abandonment is more about ease of use while checkout abandonment is about trust deficit. My reasons for my opinion are:-

  1. Ease of Use – The visitor has suffered enough already to leave the site at this step.
  2. Brand Value – Again, the visitor would have bounced from the landing page itself, if the product would not have matched their brand perception.

I call it a trust issue because of these reasons:-

  1. Price based trust deficit – The visitor assumed a cost when they saw a price at the onset of her journey but saw a greatly different (final) cost.
  2. Visual trust deficit – You tend to ignore the (visual) something as a part of the website which you’d tend to deem untrustworthy – something as benign as a typo.
  3. Security based trust deficit – People tend to pay a lot of attention to badges and a lack of security seals might be problematic.

Need for Analytics

While I talk about the reasons for abandonment, there is something that is common in all the three deficit cases which I would want to point towards near the end of my post. While we should primarily commit ourselves to making sure the checkout abandonment go down, we should understand the overall perception that your website forces your visitor to form.

As far as removing bottlenecks go, you should look deep into the layers of data that your site produces. One very interesting data set that keeps waiting to be discovered on every website is about the products in the cart. What do products in the cart tell you? Few examples of what they could tell you are:-

  1. Within your inventory, which products are having higher abandonment rate than others.
  2. For which products, would the like to pay a higher shipping price.
  3. What was your quantum of loss on account of checkout abandonment.

You can get all this data without installing another plugin and with the help of Google Tag Manager and see the data in Google Analytics.

Author avatar
Troy is a technology enthusiast who loves exploring and discussing new product ideas.

1 comment

  1. […] Checkout abandonment is a great pain point in the lives of a lot of online store managers who want to improve their conversions. Finding out the products that are in the cart when it is getting abandoned on the Checkout page can give you a lot of insights. In my experience, you can easily get various cart data by creating custom JavaScript variable in Google Tag Manager. This post tells you how. […]

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